Fighting Fear with Faith

I’ll start by telling you that this is the title of an entire series we are covering at church, along with the bullet points mentioned in one or more sermons. So the ideas aren’t completely my own. These ideas did inspire me to share some thoughts with you. Even if you come across one or two ideas that you don’t necessarily agree with I encourage you to read all the way through.

Fighting Fear with Faith

I haven’t been able to wrap my head around President Trump signing an order to deny entry into America for certain folks. I mean, I can see both sides and out of shock that it was actually happening I felt numb to it. I’m already prepared for the excuses others will tell me why I felt that way. The important thing is I came to. The first feeling I felt was anger….but not for what you think. I don’t remember what news station I was watching when I heard it, but the anchor was hounding on the issues of being ‘detained.’ I’m only going to say this once….

…being detained only means people are being pulled aside so their paperwork and identification can be double checked.

Yes, it’s a different story if they aren’t following protocol with phone calls, rights, etc. But the whole concept of being detained isn’t a negative thing. It made me angry that the media was hounding on that issue like it meant they were being waterboarded. I had to turn the news off.

That prompted me to reflect on how I really felt about it.

I went to bed that night still unsure. I just couldn’t believe he actually did it. But something changed this past Sunday morning. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the clarity I had about the whole  issue.

Psalms 34:17 “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their trouble.”

And then it hit me…..what better place in the ENTIRE world for non-believers to hear the gospel than in America? Let’s say those being detained and/or denied entry are believers. Then the Lord will hear their calls for help and rescue them according to HIS will. Now let’s say those being detained and/or denied entry are non-believers…they have a much better chance at seeing His light in our country than any other. Am I wrong about that? Even if you are a non-believer, isn’t that something you would agree with? Even if it meant one of them killing someone here to be subjected to a Christian…..isn’t that worth it? It may not be to us, but it is to God.

God uses people all the time to reveal himself to others.

That includes by death. I’ve seen more of the love of Christ in moments of death and suffering than in moments of joy.  He will ABSOLUTELY use those moments to make sure you know who to lean on; to make sure you know who to call out to; to make sure you know who is the only one that can help. And He does. He does help.

He will help them.

He will hear the cries of his children when they call out to him. He will also send his children to help those that are not yet his children, the lost. He will. He has. And He is. So what do we do other than sit back and watch Him work? Ha! We have that part wrong. See, it’s not our job to sit back and watch. We’ve all been called to fight.

We are called to fight fear with FAITH.

We are called to fight the things that cause us to stumble and not follow Christ with all that we have. If the news causes you to doubt and stumble away from Him…fight it. Fight to stay focused on Jesus. Fight to set your thoughts on truth. The truth you have been promised by Christ…not the ‘truth’ of the world. Fight to read God’s word regularly. Even if it means cutting off the television, putting down the phone, or asking your spouse to watch the kids alone for 15 minutes.

Fight to praise Jesus despite the circumstances you are in.

Ouch. Even if you are detained. Even if you are suffering in pain. Even if you are cold and hungry. Even if you are warm, dry and fed. It’s easy to praise Him when things are comfortable. But we are called to fight to praise Him DESPITE our circumstances. We are called to fight to stay close to Jesus. Stay close to Him. We are human- we wander. It’s in our very nature. We were created to be that way so that we would have to constantly choose to follow and stay close to Christ. It must be a choice. (That’s free-will.) This is going to sound stupid, but when I listen to radio stations other than Christian radio (K-LOVE) I cuss more, I yell more, I lose my patience more. I’m just generally disconnected from God. Music is a HUGE part of my worship time with Him. It literally calms my soul. I literally cannot live without it.

When I start to drift from Him, simply changing my radio station sucks me right back down into His lap. Every. Single. Time.

Lastly, don’t forsake His assembly – we are called to fight to stay close to His body, the church. I know….this is where you tell me that His body isn’t in a church building and that church is anywhere people are gathered to worship Him. Yes, but you know what I’m talking about. We are called NOT TO FORSAKE HIS ASSEMBLY.

Get your butt to church. End of argument.

So after all these thoughts came flooding to me this past Sunday I felt more confident in my feelings about the current predicament. I am confident that He is working it out for His good. And that it will all come to fruition if His children will recognize this and step up. Do I think the nationalities on the list are terrorist? I have no idea. I have heard the statistics, but I also don’t know if any of my neighbors build bombs in their spare time, either. Do I think any and everyone should be let into our country? I don’t know about that either. I can name a few Americans that probably shouldn’t be allowed to still live here. But I do know that no matter how dramatic the media tries to make me feel about it, they won’t. I do know that I will pray His children are perfectly placed to intervene where they are supposed to. I do know that I trust Him more than I will ever trust a politician or law or report. I do know that His plans for us all are far better than we have planned for ourselves. I do know that He will use some of our suffering to bring Glory to himself….and I’m okay with that because I’ve been called to be.

I hope you are praying for our country. I also hope you are praying for our President. (Despite our circumstances, we must praise Him.) If you haven’t been called or placed into a physical position to witness to any of the people involved…you have been called and physically placed to pray for them. Be sure to fight for time to do that.

Praying for us all,

Your Mediocre Mom

Eat More Leftovers!

Let’s face it. You meal plan so you don’t waste food. You make a grocery list so you don’t overspend, as much. You meal prep and pre-package school lunches and after school snacks so the whole house doesn’t get eaten within 36 hours of purchase.

Give yourself a break!

Eat more leftovers! I actually put ‘Leftovers’ on my meal plan for the week. If I haven’t been feeling well lately I may put it on the list every three days. There is nothing wrong with expecting your family to reheat yesterdays dinner. Sometimes you can reconfigure it into a different type of meal but sometimes you can’t. Trust me, they can suck it up and it will save you all the stress of ‘witching hour.’ Take it a step further and serve it on paper plates. That way you’ve saved yourself from having to cook dinner that night and do the dishes. Voila!

Another thing I do to make sure suppers don’t go to waste is pre-package them for future use. My family is more likely to eat the leftovers (or take them to work for lunch) if I go ahead and cut portions to place into plastic containers. That way they are easy to grab and pop into the microwave. Sometimes I don’t even tell the hubs that leftovers are in the fridge. I just mix the containers in with his prepackaged lunch items and he automatically just grabs whatever. Let’s face it, most men don’t look anyway. Toddlers, on the other hand, are tiny health inspectors. They should be paid by the Food and Drug Administration. Nothing slips by a toddler. Nothing. If yours is anything like mine, he’s so paranoid he literally smells everything single thing before it goes into his mouth. Drinks are no exception.

So give yourself a break Mama. It’s Monday. Let them eat leftovers.

Saving you the dishes,

Your Mediocre Mom

Verse of the Week: Isaiah 40:11

Mommin’ ain’t easy – and we need all the encouragement we can get. Sometimes the encouragement only comes from above. And we should be okay and expectant in that because He is all-sufficient for us. Focus on this verse this week as we tend to our ‘flocks.’

“He tends his flock like a shepard: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40″11 NIV

Amen. …”He gently leads those that have young.” Please and thank you, Jesus.

 

In His Name,

Your Mediocre Mom

 

Overrated: Walks on the Beach

I know, I know….how could anyone think taking a long walk on the beach is overrated? It’s what people say they love to do on dating games and websites. It’s what people day dream about when they think of romantic time spent with a loved one.

Not me!

Talking a walk on the beach sucks. I have what I call, ‘left-over dancer legs.’ That means they were once completely solid muscle and my best asset. Now they cramp at night if my day includes climbing too many stairs- which isn’t many. Result? My thighs rub together. They really always have, whether they were muscle or not. But now they cause me to wear Spanx anytime I wear a dress or skirt.

Walking on the beach is probably the most uncomfortable thing for me to do.

I’m in a bathing suit…AKA acceptable underwear to wear in public. My thighs are rubbing together so much I can smell bacon. And sand is EVERYWHERE. That last part is important. The more I walk, the more that sand rubs against parts of my body that should not need exfoliating. Just saying. And people think this is a romantic activity? Pa-leeze!

It’s misreable!

Know what I prefer to do? Beach my fat ass in the sand with a cold drink and wander into the water to cool off as soon as no male figure between the ages of 18-30 is nearby. That last part is about my lack of self-confidence, not an overestimation of how good I look.

And there you have it. Walks on the beach are completely overrated. Skip it. Take a walk on the boardwalk after you’ve showered.

You’re welcome,

Your Mediocre Mom

The Cock-Block Toddler

Hi there. If you’ve kept up with my blog you are already aware that I am a mom of two toddlers. They rock. Sometimes. Other times they down right suck. But in this post I will share with you 5 ways they are so very thoughtful.

  1. Sexy Time – Nothing says, “You’re welcome mom,” quite like ALWAYS ruining a little romantic time with the hubs. The little one is going through a bit of a sleep regression…thoughtful, I know. And the older one has a habit of wanting to sleep in ‘momma bed.’ No matter how many times I take him back to his room, he always ends up back in our bed. And when he’s not, his sister decides it’s time to party all night. I love how they rescue me from the same old excuses. He may actually believe me if I say I have a headache. Wink wink. So thoughtful.
  2. Answered Prayers – For years I have prayed for patience.  Since having children I have learned that they hear my prayers and have decided to help me with them. You see, they thoughtfully create situations that would allow me to practice my patience. Lots and lots and lots of situations. As a matter of fact, I should be the most patient person that exists. So thoughtful of them.
  3. Tidiness – This is one of my favorites. The kids ever so thoughtfully throw their toys about the house to give me more practice in tidying. They are really good too. Like, when I pick up an entire set of Lincoln Logs and put them away….I find one piece at a time in several areas of the house- the dirty laundry, the toilet, the kitchen floor, on the train table…anywhere but in the box where it belongs. So sweet that they were thinking of me. They see me constantly tidying and thought I would like a few more to do. I enjoy it so much. So thoughtful!
  4. Uneaten Meals – I regularly let them both sit on the kitchen counter as I am preparing and cooking meals. If it’s a step they can handle I let them help. Add ingredients, stir, pour, etc. They enjoy watching and participating. I also heard that getting them involved makes them more likely to eat it or try new things. I call bullshit on that one, but they enjoy the process. They are so sweet to think of me when they leave an entire meal that they just asked me to fix sitting uneaten. They know how much I enjoy cooking, and just wanted to allow me the opportunity to get into the kitchen for a little ‘me’ time. So thoughtful!
  5. Reminders – I never would have thought my children would be so smart and thoughtful with this one. I mean, my husband hasn’t even figured this one out. When we are low on diapers and/or wipes and I need to remember to go buy some they have 9 poops between the two of them….in one day.  They normally poop once a day, each. And as soon as I buy them they return to normal.  But when mama needs to be reminded of that to-do list they are eager to jump in! So thoughtful!

Aren’t they awesome? I just love a considerate thoughtful child.  Tell me, how are your kids ‘thoughtful?’

Grateful,

Your Mediocre Mom

Overrated: ALL Clear and Free Laundry Detergent

Hola!

Know what’s overrated? ALL’s Clear and Free Laundry Detergent. I used it for years when my kids were little babies. I was part of the new mom group that lacked the confidence to just do things my own way. I was scared into using anything that wasn’t ‘free and clear’ of literally everything. Perfumes, dyes, harsh soaps, mineral oil, lavender, baby powder, common sense, etc. You know the drill. You announce your pregnancy and expect to spend the next few months of the first trimester glowing and day dreaming of your new little squish. You linger in the baby isles not knowing if you are expecting a boy or a girl but adorning over the tiny little things that fit newborns. And that lasts all but an hour. Ha! Yes, literally after I announced my very first pregnancy a friend IMMEDIATELY sent me a text containing critical advice. She didn’t even let me enjoy it for a full 60 seconds before sucking me back down to earth. Bitch.

And that was just the beginning.

I was scared into using products and not using products that sent my head spinning and my self-confidence down the drain. Included in those scare tactics was ALL Free and Clear Laundry Detergent. I’ll admit…it doesn’t have a scent and it’s not supposed to. But let me spell out what that means for you and your clothes.

You will smell like what is in your house.

Have dogs? I guarantee that’s what you smell like…a dog. Have cats? That too. Have a smoker? Yep, you guessed it.  It does the job of keeping perfume and dyes out of the wash…but it leaves the wash open to absorbing what it is surrounded by. And even if you can’t smell it the rest of us can. I promise you. Do yourself a favor and throw this crap in the garbage.

You’re welcome. 

Now rewash the dog smell out of your entire wardrobe.

Dye free is not for me,

Your Mediocre Mom

Verse of the Week: Matthew 11:28

 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Amen. Can we just take a moment to say Amen to this? He sure knows the labor of the mother, no matter if she is away at work, working at home, or a stay-at-home mom. He knows. And He will give us rest. Amen. Focus on that this week. Focus on the rest He gives us.

Short-Cuts for Everything

 

Hey there. If you are like me, you often take short-cuts for everything. You don’t know you’re doing it but trust me…we both do it. Here are a few…

  1. Cleaning:

Oh honey this is a BIG one! Admit it. When you sweep you don’t clean the baseboards. When you clean the bathroom you don’t dust the lights above the sink. When you add a load to the washing machine you don’t wet a dirty item in the load to wipe the inside of the washing machine lid clean. Let’s face it. We ALL take short-cuts when cleaning. Here are a few more lazy ways to clean….I mean ingenious ways to appear that you’ve cleaned well. Ha!

Use a carpet freshening powder.

Why not? Don’t give me that crap about the  baby crawling around on residual chemicals. Sprinkle that shit on the carpet and quickly run the vacuum. Your husband will come home thinking you’ve washed everything including the curtains. Trust me. I have two toddlers and an inside dog (black Lab). If anyone’s house usually stinks it’s mine! This stuff makes the surrounding rooms smell glorious, too. And it lasts for 3 days. Voila!

Clorox Wipes

Or whatever brand you use. Forget the dusting spray and old rags….use a clorox wipe on everything!! Like, EVERYTHING! Run a few of those bad boys on every surface in the room. It literally takes less than 3 minutes and they smell good.

The “junk box.”

Yep, we could all have one if we followed this tip. Forget the junk drawer. Let me introduce you to the “crap! a visitor is on the way over!” junk box. It’s when you take an empty diaper box and run through the house (okay, really just the three rooms your guests will see) and throw everything that needs to be put away, in the box. Every piece of mail still laying out, misplaced toys, misplaced dirty socks, misplaced anything….throw it in the box then stash the box. The good thing about this is, you can always walk around the house with the box putting things back where they belong. I once got so behind on tidying my clutter that each member of the family had their own junk box. Yeah, gross. I will give you one warning with this one, though. When you remove all the clutter you will see that you need to dust. See the info above about Clorox wipes to quickly deal with that.

The dog.

Yep, I said it. My furry old lady loves to quickly clean up after the children’s delicious droppings of crumbs, nuggets, and even greasy finger prints left on….anything. And sometimes when I don’t have to time to mop right away I’ll call my old faithful friend and she quickly helps me out until I can get to that mopping. I’ve even caught her cleaning the baby’s face a time or two. Ha!

2. Food/Cooking:

Watering down.

Okay yall, this one makes me laugh, but gosh dawg kids can put down some juice! Fill that sippie cup half-way or 1/3 with water and make that crap last longer. Geeze! Sweet tea drinkers? Do yourself a favor and let them drink half-n-half.  (Half sweet tea, half unsweet) Or cut the amount of sugar in half that you put into the tea to begin with. That last tip is a cardinal sin in my family, so we let the kids drink stevia sweetened tea. Ah, nothing like pumping our kids’ kidneys and livers with chemically processed crap. I mean, if it’s all going to cause cancer at least I can tell the doctor where to check first. (Totally not funny. Sort of.)

***Let me make a VERY IMPORTANT announcement here…..Never ever and I mean NEVER dilute/water down formula or breastmilk. Never. It messes up the level of electrolytes and is very very dangerous for the baby’s body to process.***

“Portion Control”

When you have two chicken breasts and four folks, cut those babies in half and give the lecture about working more on “portion control.” Just be prepared to circumvent the response you get next time they all get a full chicken breast. I have one prepared you can borrow….”I still want us to watch portion control, but sometimes I just love you so much I want to be generous every now and then.” Boom.

Crock-Pot

Come on. If you aren’t using this one already at least twice a week you are killing yourself. Please, Mama. Save yourself some sanity and use your crock pot! Bonus if you make a meal that can be doubled or tripled for other meals throughout the week. (Ex. Chicken chili can be eaten as chili, chicken tacos, chicken nachos, or even cold on a salad.) I have been using my crock-pots for years and finally bit the bullet and used the liners. I LOVE CROCK POT LINERS! Everyone hates cleaning the crock pot. Now we don’t have to. Win-win.

3. Laundry

Okay, if someone in your house just has stink-butt syndrome, these may not work for you. But most are pretty typical.

Re-hang/Re-use.

Sometimes, if my family just leaves the house for a couple of hours, like to go to church. I will spray a light mist of febreeze on our jeans, pants, sweaters, dress shirts, dresses and hang them back up. Laundry is a never ending task anyway. Take short cuts and keep your clothes looking good, too.

When I was a newly wed I couldn’t understand why we went through so many bath towels. Almost 5 years and two kids later I still have to sneak around to do this one. Hang your shower/bath towels up and reuse them the next day. Guess what? They were clean when you first used it and you only used it AFTER you got clean yourself. It’s not technically dirty. Hang it back up and it will be dry to use the next morning. Even with the kids, they only get carried to their rooms in them, they aren’t getting dirty! If the lightly used feeling bothers you so much, pop them all in the dryer with a dryer sheet for 20 minutes and voila! You’ve still saved time from doing a load of towels.

**Let me make a note here that dishrags and towels are a little different. I don’t know if the rest of the family has honestly only used the dish towel to dry their hands AFTER washing them….or if they’ve used it wipe something up. So those don’t get re-used too long.

 

Well, those are my quick short-cuts to cleaning, cooking, and laundry. I know there are others but it’s time to blow the referee whistle in the living room. Share your short-cuts in the comments below!

In half the time,

Your Mediocre Mom

 

Verse of the Week: 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corithians 12:9

 

Focus this week on knowing that our weakness is okay because His grace is sufficient enough to cover ALL. Those moments we yell too much at the kids….it’s covered. Those moments we are butthole wives….it’s covered. Those moments of mom-weakness…it’s covered. We are covered. Now if we can remember to also extend that grace that is extended to us….we’d be on the right track.

Focus this week on knowing His grace is sufficient for our weaknesses.

 

In His Name,

Your Mediocre Mom

The Work-Horse Husband

I recently read a blog about being a butthole wife. Guilty. It’s true though isn’t it? If my husband was reminding me to do things differently all the time (like I do) it would drain me too. I would always feel inadequate. Like I could never do anything right. And he doesn’t deserve that from me. Not from anyone.

He’s a work-horse husband.

Before we were married we went through this really amazing pre-marital counseling program. It shed a lot of light on how we see things because of the way we were raised. How we watched our parents handle conflict. How we were disciplined. What we were inadvertently taught about how to handle money. What was important to us when raising children, how to discipline them, what to teach them about responsibility, money, conflict, etc. It was very eye opening and it saved us a lot of tears down the road.  That experience was a priceless investment into our marriage.  Even then we understood that investing in our marriage had to be intentional. So at least once a year we attended a Christian marriage conference to keep our goals and focus intact. We always found we had drifted from the previous years goals.

Life gets in the way.

I can’t remember which conference or  book it was….but I remember a bit of information about husbands that were supporting the entire family by themselves. It recommended he sign up for weekly or bi-weekly counseling. Not to “fix” anything, but to offer him a safe place to unload his stress, anxiety, and worries just from being the only breadwinner. I strongly believe in counseling, so this seemed like an excellent idea to me. The world is always busy telling me that I should be the one that he can unload those fears and worries to.  After all, I am his wife. If he can’t come to me as his safe place, then what kind of message is that sending? What is that teaching our children about the sanctity of marriage?

The truth is….I can’t be his only safe place. I am busy picking up his laundry as if he’s a toddler. I’m cleaning up half-ass jobs that he is not doing right. I’m always rearranging the silverware drawer and angry because he can’t tell the short forks from the long forks. I’m wiping the sticky counters from his mishap breakfasts before work, after I’ve stuck my elbow in it. I can’t be his safe place because I’m too busy being his condemner. I can’t let him unload his crap because my tray is already full of crap that I’ve been carrying around since I woke up that day. I can’t rightfully ask him to tell me how to help him be happy and then criticize what he opens up to me about.

I can’t be his safe place because my heart isn’t in a safe place.

He is a work-horse husband. He started a new job in the last 6 months and he is working non-stop to be great at it; to make sure his company knows they hired the right man and made the right decision. He answers calls after hours, is always in-tune to his emails, and uses his spare time reading articles about how to improve what he’s doing. Not to mention, he changes clothes as soon as he gets home and gets in the floor with the kids until it’s bedtime. He knows that I’ve been watching the clock since 3 P.M. for him to walk through the door to give me a break. Sometimes I don’t even have anything to eat for him. Isn’t that pathetic? I’m so tired and full of my own day that I failed to fix anything or have anything planned. Know what he says? “It’s okay, we’ll put something together.” Yeah. It’s okay with him. Is it really? I don’t know. But he sure didn’t respond the way I do to him with things he doesn’t get done. Things that aren’t even important. He could seriously say, “That’s two days this week. I reminded you last week that it was important to me.” But he doesn’t.

He doesn’t because his heart is in a safe place.

He works so hard for us. He doesn’t get to take a nap when he’s tired at 2 P.M. and the kids are laying down. He doesn’t get to turn the world off for a few hours a day and find solace in his space.  I love him so much it would make me physically sick to be without him. There have been numerous times in the recent past that I have prayed that the people at his new job are kind and helpful to him. Sounds like I need to refocus that prayer, huh?

He deserves better and I’m going to give it to him,

Your Mediocre Mom